farm trail

Visitors to the Negev and farm guests are welcome to take an illustrated map and tour the area. 
·      Take a self-guided tour of the rock engravings and ancient burial sites. 
·      Enjoy the view and the beautiful sunsets from the lookout points.
·      Visit the fruit orchard on the farm. 
·      Conclude your tour with wine tasting at the winery.
Individuals can tour the farm free of charge without previous arrangement.  There is a charge for wine tasting.  
Guided gvroup tours are available for a fee and must be arranged in advance. 
Click the map to enlarge and print the map and the information on the back.

Carmey Avdat Farm
We, Hannah and Eyal Izrael, founded Carmey Avdat Farm in 1998.  Our dreams of building a farm in the Negev, cultivating grapes, and making wine became a reality thanks to the Wine Route Project.  During our search for a site to establish our farm we discovered a hidden riverbed with the remains of an ancient farm and vineyard, and immediately fell in love with the site.  We planted our vineyards on the ancient terraces and they are irrigated by the desert floodwaters – exactly as they were in ancient times.  We planned and built the buildings on the farm  while ensuring that they did not disrupt the natural surroundings.  The guest cabins blend into the panorama, enabling guests to enjoy the majestic desert view.   The cabins are surrounded by trees that are indigenous to Israel, and the water from the natural rock bathing pools is used to irrigate the orchards.   The ground was carefully restored and all infrastructures are buried underground.  The farm employs ecological practices such as recycling water and waste materials, and produces its electricity by means of solar energy.  Our wines are produced in a family-run boutique winery, and the farm is open to visitors for tours and wine-tasting.  Our shop sells the farm's products as well as produce and crafts from artists living in the surrounding area.  Our farm workers are young Israelis who have completed their military service, together with members of the neighboring Bedouin communities, with whom we have friendly relations. Our children play an active role in making decisions and performing chores on the farm.

Archeological Remains on the Farm
By Yigal Granot
 
Terraces are stone walls that extend across the riverbeds.   The terraces act as a water saving mechanism by slowing down the flow of water during flash floods, enabling it to penetrate into the soil and to be utilized by plants during the dry season.    Terraces also protect the soil by preventing erosion by the floodwaters, and creating fields for raising grain, vineyards, olives, and other crops. 
Diversion Canals are stone walls that are built from a single layer of stones extending along the entire length of the slopes.   These walls usually begin under steps or rock surfaces and continue along the length of the slope to the cultivated fields.   These walls function as diversion canals or ancient water pipes that increase the amount of water that reaches the fields.  There are two such canals on the farm – one on the slope and another that begins outside the farm that leads to the saddle near the rock drawings.
Tumulus (plural Tumuli) Tumuli are mountain or pyramid-shaped mounds of stones commonly found on the tops of mountains and hilltops in the Negev.   According to research, the tumuli were temporary graves in which nomads were buried during their journeys in the desert as part of the rituals for honoring the dead.   Nomads would return to the spot several years later to retrieve the bones and transferred them to a permanent burial place in a cemetery close to a ritual center.   Some of the tumuli are monuments that were built to commemorate pacts between different tribes or to mark important events.   The tumuli are approximately 4,200 years old.  
Rock Drawings are carvings that were carved over the years in ironized limestone rock.  Exposure to the air has caused the large deposits of iron oxides in the limestone rocks to rust and blacken over time.  These drawing are typical of nomads in desert regions of the Middle East.  Most have a religious context and constitute a symbolic language in which the artists appealed to the heavenly forces to aid them in their troubles.  Other drawings were made to communicate with other shepherds – similar to today's communications on a friend's wall on Facebook.  The rock drawings on the farm are from 4,200 years ago and extend through the Nabbatean, Byzantine, and ancient Arab periods


Carmey Avdat Winery

Eyal learned the secrets of winemaking from Yuval Ben-Shoshan from Kibbutz Bror Chayil, and our first wines were produced there.   We realized that the wine had to be produced in the same place that the grapes are grown.  Making wine in a boutique winery allows the winemaker to experiment and try different flavors and processes.  The fascinating process combines cultivating grapes together with researching possibilities of producing various wines using different processes.   Our grapes have a unique flavor and aroma that are characteristic of the Negev and differ greatly from grapes grown in other areas.  We attempt to preserve these unique flavors during the winemaking process.
Carmey Avdat is currently adding new varieties of grapes in order to assess additional types of wines that are suitable to the Negev.  We produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlo from the classic varieties of grapes that grow on the farm as well as a young, refreshing rosé suitable for summer desert evenings and a light, red wine called Somek.  Our sweet dessert wine is produced by utilizing the extreme desert conditions.
Carmey Avdat's newest wine – Tishrei - is a kosher L'mahadrin wine that is also kosher for Passover
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Rock Engraving Park Trail

Hiking Route from Carmey Avdat Farm to the Rock Engraving Park and Salam El Wadj's Bedouin Tent

The route is a circular hiking path about 4.5 kilometers long that leads from the farm to the Rock Engraving Park, continues to Salem Al Wadj's Bedouin tent, and returns to the farm.
The route begins next to the winery on the farm and is marked with pictograms of ancient rock drawings that we engraved on local rocks.
The road leads up to a group of rock engravings on the farm and reaches a gate in the fence.   (Please close the gate with the chain after you go out.)
Cross the dirt road towards the Lippa Gal Lookout and enter the Rock Engraving Park.
There are two routes in the park that are marked in red and green that appear on the attached map.  We recommend taking the longer route that leads to several groups of rock engravings.
The end of the route joins a dirt road that continues to Salem Al Wadj's Tent, where you can stop to enjoy a cup of Bedouin tea, pita bread with goat cheese,   or a light meal.  
After you leave the tent walk back a short distance along the dirt road.  Continue on the road alongside the electric poles until you reach the dirt road that you crossed when you left the farm.  
Turn right and continue to the main entrance gate of the farm.  Turn left at the gate and return to the farm.
Click the map to enlarge and print the map and the information on the trail.
 
 10 minutes from Carmey Avdat

Ein-Avdat
Ein-Avdat is the largest natural spring in the area and one of the most popular sites for visitors to the Negev Highland. The spring’s water flows through a magnificent canyon throughout the year. Ibexes - ‘the kings of the cliffs’ - can be seen drinking from the spring or leaping up and down the canyon walls.
The trail going through Ein Avdat is easily accessible. A stone stairway leads to the upper pools. As you climb you pass 6th century hermit caves, powering poplar trees and a spectacular waterfall. On the Avdat Plateau above the canyon are the springs of Ein Akev, Upper Ein Akev, Ein Zik, and Ein Sharav, which can be reached by land vehicles or on foot. For more information: Avdat National Park 08-6551511
Click to view more pictures
  
 Hike to Nahal Chavarim and Ein Avdat
This hike takes a circular route via Nahal Chivrim and Ein Avdat and
returns to the farm.
Duration: 4 – 5 Hours

Route: Leave the farm by the dirt road, cross to the east side of the main road and continue walking northward along the dirt road parallel to the main road. At the end of the decline turn right and begin the walk through Nahal Chivrim (marked in red). At a later point in the riverbed the markings change color. Follow the black markings to Ein Avdat. Walk southwards on the road to the entrance to the park (There is an entry fee and visiting hours should be checked in advance.) Walk through the canyon along the spring and pools and climb up the stairs carved in the rocks through the poplar groves. Climbing up the metal ladders will bring you to the monk’s caves at the top of the canyon. It is worthwhile to go the lookout pint at the head of the big 60-meter-high waterfall of Ein Ma’arif. From there you can cross the plain and return to the farm. (This road is not marked).

 
  
 5 minutes from Carmey Avdat

Avdat
The ancient Nabbatean city of Avdat was a major stopping pint for travelers on the route between Gaza and Yemen, and provided a variety of services for travelers. The archeological ruins of the ancient city include the largest wine press in the area, where caravans of camels would deliver the grapes. At the bottom of the limestone slopes are wine cellars carved into the rock and caves where the wine was stored before being transported throughout the Nabbatean kingdom.
For more information: Avdat National Park – 08-6551511
  
 10 minutes from Carmey Avdat

Ben-Gurion’s Hut and Tomb
The home of Israel’s first prime minister is a pilgrimage site for school children, youth movement members, and tourists from all over the world. The modest home at Kibbutz Sde Boker where David Ben Gurion and his wife Paula spent their last years was left exactly as it was, at Ben Gurion’s request. The home is now a small museum devoted to his legacy where visitors can learn about one of Israel’s most important leaders and the period in which he lived.
For more information: Ben-Gurion’s Home: 08-6560443
David and Paula Ben-Gurion’s Tomb
David and Paula Ben Gurion’s Tomb is located in Midreshet Ben-Gurion and is surrounded by a magnificent park overlooking the breath-taking view of Nahal Zin. The site is especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset
  
 20 minutes from Carmey Avdat

Mitzpe Ramon Visitors’ Center
Mitzpeh Ramon visitors’ center is an ideal starting point for a tour of the Ramon nature reserve. The center contains an exhibit with an excellent audio-visual presentation on the geology of the region. The center offers information on hiking trails, weather updates, and other points of interest in the area.
The shop offers maps and additional literature about the area.
For more information- the visitors’ center: 08-6588698
  
 20 minutes from Carmey Avdat

Neve-Midbar Hot Springs
Neve Midbar is a luxurious spa in the heart of the desert with hot baths, Jacuzzi, sauna, massage parlor, cafeteria and a large outdoor pool surrounded by a spacious seating area. Hot water rich in salts and minerals is pumped directly up from the vast underground aquifer. Guests of Carmey Avdat are entitled to a discount at Neve-Midbar. For more information call Neve-Midbar: 08-6579666
 
  
 25 minutes from Carmay Avdat

The Alpaca Farm
The Alpaca Farm near Mitzpeh Ramon has 600 alpacas and llamas as well as many other animals. Visitors can hand feed the animals, take guided tours of the farm, ride llamas and camels, and watch demonstrations of shearing and weaving.
The horseback ride into the spectacular Ramon crater is highly recommended. The ride does not require previous riding experience and is open to adults and children aged 8 and up.
With the exception of horseback riding, all the above activities do not require advance booking.
For more information – the Alpaca Farm: 08-6588047
 
  
 25 minutes from Carmey Avdat

Ramon Crater
Ramon Crater is the largest crater in Israel. Its magnificent panorama and unique geological formations make it one of Israel’s most spectacular sites. The crater contains sand dunes crossed by million year old dykes, colored sands, a spring, canyons and cliffs, and an amazing basalt rock formation known as the ‘carpentry shop’.
For more information- the visitors’ center: 08-6588698
link to a map of the Ramon Crater
 
  
 Bedouin Hospitality
The Negev highland is home to many Bedouin. Some still live the traditional nomadic way, a tent for their home, they pasture their herds of sheep and camels, and cook their food on open fires. In the region are a number of Bedouin guest-tents, where visitors can experience the Bedouin lifestyle, drink hot, sweet tea, eat a tin-stove baked pita-bread with labana, and learn from their hosts about the Bedouin way of life. Some Bedouin families are known to invite guests to their own tents, providing visitors with a truly authentic experience.
For more information- beerot camp site 057-7375265
08-6535177-han hashayarot
 
  
 Camel Back-riding Hikes

In desert style, tours on camels, horses or donkeys are as good a way as any to explore the Negev. If you prefer to go on foot, the camels can carry your equipment, while you take off unencumbered on a several day hike.
It is possible to follow the trail of the ancient spice-route on the back of a camel. The ride follows the ancient caravan route, stops to rest in the old rest-areas, passes through the original animal drinking pools; just like 2000 years ago
For more information 08-6535177-han hashayarot
 
  
 Adventure Activities

The Negev Highland is paradise for adventure-enthusiasts.
Its high cliffs are among Israel’s finest rappelling locations, there are numerous trails for 4x4 vehicles, and even mountain bikes trails (mountain bikes can be rented in the area). Altogether, this is definitely one of the best areas in the country for adventure activities.
In order to keep the landscape from harm and to ensure a safe return home, one should contract the National Parks Authority at the Mitzpe Ramon visitors’ center to help plan the trip. 08- 6588698.
 
 
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